Monday, 30 December 2013


Dear family and friends,
It was a pleasure socializing with all my family and  friends in Dubai during this time of the year.
It’s that time of the year again !  While CNN and BBC do their bit of news round ups, the traditional write-up of my year in review is shared with friends and family (also attached) Please read/enjoy!
I take this opportunity to wish you a bright peaceful prosperous healthy wealthy and blessed new year 2014!
God bless

    2013 - a year of learning
When the clock struck 12 on New year’s eve, I was on my balcony watching the tallest building in the world erupt into a grand show of pyrotechnics, illuminating the night sky. The witches of last year’s misfortunes were symbolically burnt at the stake, with a promise of a brand New Year.
The first few months kept me and my brother Joseph busy with the establishment of ‘Diasquare’ (our own architectural consultancy ) I was a bit apprehensive at first but slowly digested the idea, succumbed to the decision and am still nurturing the passion to make it big… Sometimes it is challenging to leave the comfort zone and venture out of the well of protection when you are employed by others. Jeffry Archer was in town at that time and I did find an inkling of comfort in what he said – “it is better to find the time and fail than convince yourself that you might have made it…do not let anything stop you.”
‘Diasquare’ got fairly busy, thanks to the first clients who trusted us and ex-companies such as John R Harris who we supported with our architectural skills.

SRILANKA –the emerald isles

One of the first projects was a design of a safehouse for girls in Colombo, Srilanka. We offered our services and flew into Sri Lanka for a few days. Dilurakhshi, our young philanthropist friend, the proprietor of this vision took good care of us. Dilu is very passionate about her work with street kids, providing them with food clothing education and above all a loving Christian home experience. A long standing desire was fulfilled to visit the mission land of our own Goan Padre Jose Vaz. The Emerald island is blessed with beautiful greenery and above all, friendly and hospitable people.  My last visit to a Buddhist temple was in Malacca in 2004 and I remember feeling a bit creepy but this time I had no option but to explore a lot more Buddhist monuments and edifices which were imposing but for some reason, the whole ambience,- the vibration created by the chanting, the coloured buntings and burning of incense and agarbathis put me in some peculiar ‘deja-vu’ kind of a disposition.(maybe I was a Buddhist in my last birth! J )The return to Dubai was marked by the sad demise of a good friend uncle Joe who was a kind soul and a vibrant personality in our friends circle and community.(R.I.P) Another notable person in my life worth a mention who departed the earth is Mr Fred Ellis , coordinator at our Church who I respected and admired as a disciplinarian and a meticulous organizer.(R.I.P)
My cousin Melwyn and Valerie graced us with their presence from the wintry North to soak up the Dubai sun. It was one nostalgic ride after another mostly on the curry express as their taste buds were craving the Eastern specialties they missed for a year. It was a refreshing and enjoyable visit.
Delicious “mancurado” mangoes and jackfruit tree (below) at maternal villa, Margao.

Saligao Church, Goa decked up for the feastday
Summertime and we welcomed the taste of Goa with mum and Aunt Margarida holidaying in Dubai for a month. As usual it was devoted to family fun and heaps of good food! At this time,the office was in full swing and Joseph and I had to leave the guests and make a quick visit to Goa and Pune for site visits and job prospecting. Although we missed Mum’s presence in Goa, sister in law Ivy and brother Cosme, Luella and Leron took very good care of us. It was a hectic yet enjoyable visit, my first summer in sizzling hot Goa after a very long time, so I got to feast on the local summer fruits. A memory worth revisiting is our trip to the Goa Chitra museum in Benaulim which is very educative and it brings out the best of my beloved land.
The visit to the “Lord’s ranch” in Pune was a wonderful experience; - set high up in the mountains , surrounded by forests, clean air and verdant greens, was a lovely respite from the concrete jungle we live in . It was a pleasure to collect the little sweet berries- karanda (Carissa spinarum, the Conkerberry or Bush Plum) and I could eat them sun ripened straight from the thorny shrubs. This is the first time in years I got to look up and acknowledge the beauty of the sky for never had I seen a darker sky . I could literally recognize and count the stars distinctly.

some views of “the Lords’ Ranch” Pune
This year was not a good year for travel which in a way was a disappointment but was definitely a year of learning. The mind certainly did a fair bit of travel – in the spiritual realm , learning about the Bible and studying religions and body/soul/spirit in general ;  business;  work…. They say every day is a school day and though I felt like I was in exile the whole year through mostly confined to the 4 walls of my home office classroom, I was not alone for Google was my best friend and BBM, Skype and Whatsapp were the vehicles of instant journeys visiting family and friends!   Missed the days working in offices in the past when there was always someone around to socialize and chat with. But I am thankful to a few good friends and family who were always around who more than make up for this. My brother Felix kept me fattened by providing delicious home cooked meals from time to time too. It was always a pleasure visiting them and playing with Jayden and Jeremy. This has been a frugal year personally, considering it being in the first year of independent employ but has been rich in experience of every kind, - meeting different kinds of people, visiting prospective clients, a good peek into other corporates and consultancies etc. Attending meetings sometimes took us to such corners of Dubai, we had never been before so a lot of new roads (less taken) discovered and hopefully inroads as well for future clientele!
As far as creativity is concerned the awareness was always sharp taking in ideas, reading, baking, trying some creative desserts and the diary and pen kept well exercised .Conducted two classes of introducing crafts to children at a school book festival which was again more of a learning how to contain unruly kids then teaching! A renewed sense of appreciation of the teaching profession and I silently blessed my own teachers. My nephews Leander and Leroy made the family proud with their artistic talents; Leander excelling in his music and writing and Leroy ‘the little Picasso’ winning painting prizes. Early next year Leander leaves us to pursue his higher studies in the UK.  An occasion to celebrate - Cousin Merle tied the knot but I could not be a part of her big day in Goa on the 23rd of December. Wish her well as we welcome Chris into the fold.
All in all, mixed feelings as we cross another milestone , not a smooth ride but when bad things happened specially on the work front we just calmly laid out all the options (with the help of the ever positive Joseph), and failure was not one of them…. Panicked a bit (that’s my birth right ! ), but we never gave up on finding a solution. So each day was lived inside a classroom which will surely see a successful graduation day,… someday ! J
“The babbling brook would lose its song if the stones were taken away” !!!  J On this positive note I move into the new year…..Wish you all a blessed new year 2014!
God bless you, 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Death of a Guru: The Story of Rabi Maharaj

Here's a great book that i read several years ago ... A great testimony for new believers!

No matter how fulfilling life becomes, there are always certain regrets when one looks back.
 My deepest sense of loss involves my father. So much has happened since his death. I often wonder what it would be like to share it all with him, and what his reaction would be.
We never shared anything in our lives. Because of vows he had taken before I was born, not once did he ever speak to me or pay me the slightest heed. Just two words from him would have made me unspeakably happy.
 How I wanted to hear him say, "Rabi. Son." Just once. But he never did.
For eight long years he uttered not a word.
 The trancelike condition he had achieved is called in the East a state of higher consciousness and can be attained only through deep meditation.
"Why is Father that way?"
I would ask my mother, still too young to understand. "He is someone very special -- the greatest man you could have for a father," she would reply. "He is seeking the true Self that lies within us all, the One Being, of which there is no other. And that's what you are too, Rabi."
Father had set an example, achieved wide acclaim, and earned the worship of many, and it was inevitable that upon his death his mantle would fall upon me. I had never imagined, however, that I would still be so young when this fateful day arrived.

When father died I felt I had lost everything. Though I had scarcely known him as my father, he had been my inspiration -- a god -- and now he was dead.
At his funeral, my father's stiff body was placed on a great pile of firewood. The thought of his body being sacrificed to Agni, the god of fire, added a new dimension of mystery to the bewilderment and deep sense of loss that already overwhelmed me.
As the flames engulfed him, it was impossible to suppress the anguish I felt.
 "Mommy!" I screamed. "Mommy!" If she heard me above the roar of sparks and fire, she made no indication.
A true Hindu, she found strength to follow the teaching of Krishna: she would mourn neither the living nor the dead. Not once did she cry as the flames consumed my father.
After my father's funeral, I became a favourite subject for the palm-readers and astrologers who frequented our house. Our family would hardly make an important decision without consulting an astrologer, so it was vital that my future be confirmed in the same way.

 It was encouraging to learn that the lines on my palms and the planets and stars, according to those who interpreted them, all agreed I would become a great Hindu leader.
 I was obviously a chosen vessel, destined for early success in the search for union with Brahman (the One). The forces that had guided my father were now guiding me.
I was only eleven and already many people were bowing before me, laying gifts of money, cotton cloth, and other treasures at my feet and hanging garlands of flowers around my neck at religious ceremonies.
How I loved religious ceremonies -- especially private ones in our own home or those of others, where friends and relatives would crowd in. There I would be the centre of attention, admired by all. I loved to move through the audience, sprinkling holy water on worshippers or marking foreheads with the sacred white sandalwood paste.
I also loved how the worshippers, after the ceremony, bowed low before me to leave their offerings at my feet.
While vacationing at an Aunt's ranch, I had my first real encounter with Jesus. I was walking along enjoying nature one day and was startled by a rustling sound in the underbrush behind me.
 I turned quickly and, to my horror, saw a large snake coming directly toward me -- its beady eyes staring intently into mine. I felt paralysed, wanting desperately to run but unable to move.
In that moment of frozen terror, out of the past came my mother's voice, repeating words I had long forgotten:
 "Rabi, if ever you're in real danger and nothing else seems to work, there's another god you can pray to. His name is Jesus."
"Jesus! Help me!" I tried to yell, but the desperate cry was choked and hardly audible.

To my astonishment, the snake turned around and quickly wriggled off into the underbrush.
 Breathless and still trembling, I was filled with wondering gratitude to this amazing god, Jesus. Why had my mother not taught me more about him?
During my third year in high school I experienced an increasingly deep inner conflict.
 My growing awareness of God as the Creator, separate and distinct from the universe He had made, contradicted the Hindu concept that god was everything, that the Creator and the Creation were one and the same.
 If there was only One Reality, then Brahman was evil as well as good, death as well as life, hatred as well as love. That made everything meaningless, life an absurdity. It was not easy to maintain both one's sanity and the view that good and evil, love and hate, life and death were One Reality.

One day a friend of my cousin Shanti, whose name was Molli, came by to visit.
She asked me about whether I found my faith fulfilling. Trying to hide my emptiness, I lied and told her I was very happy and that my religion was the Truth. She listened patiently to my pompous and sometimes arrogant pronouncements.
Without arguing, she exposed my emptiness gently with politely phrased questions.
She told me that Jesus had brought her close to God. She also said that God is a God of love and that He desires us to be close to Him. As appealing as this sounded to me, I stubbornly resisted, not willing to surrender my Hindu roots.
Still, I found myself asking, "What makes you so happy? You must have been doing a lot of meditation."
"I used to," Molli responded, "but not anymore. Jesus has given me a peace and joy that I never knew before." Then she said, "Rabi, you don't seem very happy. Are you?"
I lowered my voice: "I'm not happy. I wish I had your joy." Was I saying this?
"My joy is because my sins are forgiven," said Molli. "Peace and joy come from Christ, through really knowing Him."
We continued talking for half a day, unaware of how the time had passed. I wanted her peace and joy, but I was absolutely resolved that I wasn't going to give up any part of my religion.
As she was leaving, she said:
 "Before you go to bed tonight, Rabi, please get on your knees and ask God to show you the Truth -- and I'll be praying for you." With a wave of her hand she was gone.
Pride demanded that I reject everything Molli had said, but I was too desperate to save face any longer. I fell to my knees, conscious that I was giving in to her request.
"God, the true God and Creator, please show me the truth!"
Something inside me snapped. For the first time in my life, I felt I had really prayed and gotten through -- not to some impersonal Force, but to the true God who loves and cares. Too tired to think any longer, I crawled into bed and fell asleep almost instantly.
Soon after, my cousin Krishna invited me to a Christian meeting. I again surprised myself by responding: "Why not?"
On our way there, Krishna and I were joined by Ramkair, a new acquaintance of his. "Do you know anything about this meeting?" I asked him, anxious to get some advance information.
"A little," he replied. "I became a Christian recently."
"Tell me," I said eagerly. "Did Jesus really change your life?" Ramkair smiled broadly. "He sure did! Everything is different."
"It's really true, Rab!" added Krishna enthusiastically. "I've become a Christian too -- just a few days ago."
The preacher's sermon was based on Psalm 23, and the words, "The Lord is my shepherd," made my heart leap. After expounding the Psalm, the preacher said:
"Jesus wants to be your Shepherd. Have you heard His voice speaking to your heart? Why not open your heart to Him now? Don't wait until tomorrow -- that may be too late!"
The preacher seemed to be speaking directly to me. I could delay no longer.
I quickly knelt in front of him. He smiled and asked if anyone else wanted to receive Jesus. No one stirred. Then he asked the Christians to come forward and pray with me. Several did, kneeling beside me. For years Hindus had bowed before me -- and now I was kneeling before a Christian.
Aloud I repeated after him a prayer inviting Jesus into my heart.
When the preacher said, "Amen," he suggested I pray in my own words. Quietly, choking with emotion, I began:
 "Lord Jesus, I've never studied the Bible, but I've heard that you died for my sins at Calvary so I could be forgiven and reconciled to God. Please forgive me all my sins. Come into my heart!"
Before I finished, I knew that Jesus wasn't just another one of several million gods. He was the God for whom I had hungered. He Himself was the Creator. Yet, He loved me enough to become a man and die for my sins.
With that realisation, tons of darkness seemed to lift and a brilliant light flooded my soul.

After arriving home, Krishna and I found the entire family waiting up for us, apparently having heard what had happened.
 "I asked Jesus into my life tonight!" I exclaimed happily, as I looked from one to another of those startled faces.
 "It's glorious. I can't tell you how much he means to me already."
Some in my family seemed wounded and bewildered; others seemed happy for me. But before it was all over with, thirteen of us had ended up giving our hearts to Jesus! It was incredible.
The following day I walked resolutely into the prayer room with Krishna.
 Together we carried everything out into the yard: idols, Hindu scriptures, and religious paraphernalia. We wanted to rid ourselves of every tie with the past and with the powers of darkness that had blinded and enslaved us for so long.
When everything had been piled on the rubbish heap, we set it on fire and watched the flames consume our past. The tiny figures we once feared as gods were turning to ashes. We hugged one another and offered thanks to the Son of God who had died to set us free.
I found my thoughts going back to my father's cremation nearly eight years before.
 In contrast to our new found joy, that scene had aroused inconsolable grief. My father's body had been offered to the very same false gods who now lay in smouldering fragments before me.
 It seemed unbelievable that I should be participating with great joy in the utter destruction of that which represented all I had once believed in so fanatically.
In a sense this was my cremation ceremony -- the end of the person I had once been...the death of a guru. The old Rabi Maharaj had died in Christ. And out of that grave a new Rabi had risen in whom Christ was now living.

(Editor's Note: If you would be interested in a detailed account of Rabi's conversion, read his book Death of a Guru. Rabi is presently based in Southern California and is involved in evangelism all over the world. He invites you to write: East/West Gospel Ministries, P.O. Box 2191, La Habra, CA 90632.)

(Alternatively, if you live in the UAE, you may order a copy with WORD VENTURES ... email: